The Atlantic Daily: SpaceX Really Might Change American Spaceflight Forever

It’s a busy time on Planet Elon. Plus: Here are five suggestions for how to spend this first weekend in May.

Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.


It’s a busy time on Planet Elon. Twitter’s favorite billionaire space-entrepreneur provocateur continues to draw both ire and awe, depending on the day.

This week, his company SpaceX drew applause for successfully landing a prototype of its Starship spacecraft, which Musk wants to use to send people to the moon and Mars someday; this weekend, he has a controversial hosting gig on a classic American television show.

Don’t expect the attention on Musk to dim anytime soon: He is, as our space reporter, Marina Koren, argues, the future of American spaceflight, for better or worse.

We check in on the latest in the billionaire’s world.

  • He’s maybe, actually, strangely, going to do this Mars thing. “If the idea of SpaceX sending people to the moon, let alone Mars, seemed like an abstraction a decade ago, then a decade from now, it might seem like a given,” Marina writes.

  • He’s still feuding with Jeff Bezos over the moon. “Bezos and Musk have squabbled over space projects for years, and this latest bout”—over a lucrative moon contract from NASA—“hasn’t been pretty,” Marina explains.

  • He’s hosting this weekend’s Saturday Night Live. Yes, it’s a troll, Shirley Li argues. But don’t overthink it, Conor Friedersdorf advises.


Revisit the week that was. Our senior editor Alan Taylor compiled photo highlights from around the world.

Read a great book. Start that critical darling that you were supposed to read last year.

Contemplate motherhood. It’s been a tough year for women and parents. And many Americans may still be processing the loss of a parent to COVID-19. If you do plan to celebrate Mother’s Day, leave the gender-stereotyped merch behind. Instead, use one of our happiness columnist’s techniques to offer Mom a little more joy this year.

Put on a playlist. We curated a few for you to blast at your convenience. Here’s:

For our podcast-loving pals: On this week’s episode of The Experiment, our hosts discuss what a guilty-pleasure reality show teaches us about immigration and democracy in America.

Go ahead, share your vaccine selfie. Your photograph could help win over those hesitating to get a shot, Brit Trogen argued in January.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.